The Eyes of My Regret By: Angelina Weld Grimke (1805-1879)

Always at dusk, the same tearless experience,

The same dragging of feet up the same well-worn path

To the same well-worn rock;

The same crimson or gold dropping away of the sun

The same tints, – rose, saffron, violet, lavender, grey

Meeting, mingling, mixing mistily;

Before me the same blue black cedar rising jaggedly to

a point;

Over it, the same slow unlidding of twin stars,

Two eyes, unfathomable, soul-searing,

Watching, watching, watching me;

The same two eyes that draw me forth, against my will

dusk after dusk;

The same two eyes that keep me sitting late into the

night, chin on knees

Keep me there lonely, rigid, tearless, numbly

miserable –

The eyes of my Regret.

Angelina Weld Grimke was a poet to 173 poems, and out of these 31 were published. Grimke was an African American woman, which resulted in some of her poems not being published. Along with this, her sexuality played a part. A lot of her poems had to do with life and death. Along with this, some other poem themes included nature, justice, black pride, along with other various themes.

The Eyes Of My Regret consists of many dashes, commas, and semicolons. The word “same” is repeated thoroughly throughout this poem. An example of this is “The same two eyes that keep me sitting late into the night, chin on knees” (14-15). and “To the same well-worn rock; The same crimson or gold dropping away of the sun”(3-4). This word is used in repetition and also symbolizes repetition by describing something that is not changing in this poem. The word “eyes” is also repeated several times. This word is even included in the very last line of the poem, “The eyes of my Regret” (18). This is showing the importance of the word “eyes” As well as the importance of the title to this poem and insinuating a deeper interpretation. This poem also consists of alliteration multiple times throughout this poem. An example of these are, “Meeting, mingling, mixing mistily;” (6)  and “Watching, watching, watching me;” (11). This is showing importance and bringing attention to these lines specifically, which Grimke used this literary technique frequently in this poem specifically.

Women of the Harlem Renaissance goes deeper into the meaning of this poem, and the aspects of Grimke’s life and how they affect the outcome of this poem. The Women of the Harlem Renaissance goes into how the word “same,” plays a huge role in this poem. “Using repetition of the word “same”, Grimke is emphasizing the idea that regret looks the same for everyone.” (Women of the Harlem Renaissance 1919). Along with this, the article states, “The repetition of “same” also creates the tone and idea that the speaker is in a rut because of their constant regret. Grimke uses colorful diction in lines like “The same tints, – rose, saffron, violet, lavender, grey” and “Before me the same blue black cedar rising jaggedly to a point”. Which is continuing to show the importance of literary devices and how they work towards Grimke’s poem as a whole. 

Grimke explores different ideas and meanings by using her life and literary devices in her poems. Punctuation and wording defines the way Grimke writes as well as portrays herself. In “The Eyes Of My Regretspecifically, repetition is very prominent, as well as the way Grimke uses her words and portrays them throughout. Alliteration is also an element Grimke uses to make specific lines prominent. Grimke is able to use literary devices to tell a story through her own words, in the most powerful and potential way. 

Further Readings and Bibliography: 
Paige Closson . “The Eyes of My Regret – Women of the Harlem Renaissance.” Google Sites. (1919) David A. Hirsch. Hedric’s. “Speaking Silences in Angelina Weld Grimke’s `The Closing Door’ and `Blackness’.” African American Review, vol. 26, no. 3, p. 459. EBSCOhost, doi:10.2307/3041918. (1992) Rachel Nolan. “Uplift, Radicalism, and Performance: Angelina Weld Grimké’s Rachel at the Myrtilla Miner Normal School.” Legacy (07484321), vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 1–24. EBSCOhost, doi:10.5250/legacy.35.1.0001. (Jan. 2018) Megan M. Peabody. “The Reluctant Madonna: Mothers on the Margins in the Works of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Willa Cather, and Angelina Weld Grimke.” Dissertation Abstracts International, vol. 75, no. 4, U of Nebraska, LincolnProQuest. EBSCOhost. (Oct. 2014) Shanterica. “The Eyes of My Regret.” The Eyes of My Regret. (Feb. 2010)  Lorna Raven Wheeler. “The Queer Collaboration: Angelina Weld Grimké and the Birth Control Movement.” LGBTQ Literature, edited by Robert C. Evans, Salem Press; Grey House Publishing, pp. 179–192. EBSCOhost. (2015)

I taste a liquor never brewed By: Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

I taste a liquor never brewed – 

From Tankards scooped in Pearl – 

Not all the Frankfort Berries

Yield such an Alcohol!

Inebriate of air – am I – 

And Debauchee of Dew – 

Reeling – thro’ endless summer days – 

From inns of molten Blue – 

When “Landlords” turn the drunken Bee

Out of the Foxglove’s door – 

When Butterflies – renounce their “drams” – 

I shall but drink the more!

Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats – 

And Saints – to windows run – 

To see the little Tippler

Leaning against the – Sun!

I taste a liquor never brewedis a poem written in lyrical style by Emily Dickinson on May 4, 1861. This piece was first published in the Springfield Daily Republican. The title of this poem is referred to as the first line. This is something Dickinson did with many of her poems, known as not really titling any of her work but using the first line to define it. 

There are four stanzas present in this poem. Along with this, there are many sporadic dashes and shorter structure for each line. Dickinson starts off the poem describing an intoxication of something that is tasted but never brewed. Dickinson also uses many different nature references. A line that displays this is “when butterflies-renounce their drams-”(11). As well as “inebriate of air- am I-” (5). These lines are showing the established relationships with actual people to nature. These examples also show Dickinson’s varied imagery throughout the poem, as well as in other lines in stanzas as well. Dickinson also uses exclamation points as a form of punctuation to bring her emotion and tone of the poem to life. An example of this is, “I shall but drink the more!” (12). and her last line “Leaning against the – Sun!”(16). The word choice Dickinson uses is also very powerful towards this poem. In one line she uses “seraphs” which are an angelic being and she mixes this with a slight aspect of nature. The line states, “ Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats –”(13). She also uses this line, “And Debauchee of Dew –”(6) where the word debauchee is used as a word to represent a person given to in excessive sexual pleasures and pairs it with the word dew which is just a raindrop or water droplet.” These are just a few examples of how unusually Dickinson pairs nature with other aspects in this poem. 

The various writers associated with Academic Brooklyn reflect in this piece on the deeper meaning and use of literary devices in “I taste a liquor never brewed”. This resource goes into depth about how much Dickinson uses nature and how it is portrayed in this poem specifically. Research shows in this quote, “Long before she began writing poems, Dickinson undertook a rather different yet unexpectedly parallel art of contemplation and composition — the gathering, growing, classification, and pressing of flowers, which she saw as manifestations of the Muse not that dissimilar to poems.” (Popova 2006). Popova used this to show the importance and correlations of Dickinson’s real life with nature compared to using it in her writing pieces. Academic Brooklyn states. “She uses a metaphor of drunkenness or intoxication to express how beauty or nature elates her.”  (Academic Brooklyn 2009). In this commentary, the word “metaphor” is purposely highlighted, showing the importance of symbolism and meaning to Dickinson’s piece. The writer also explains how Dickinson mixes the idea of drunkenness and intoxication with nature in different metaphors and poetic descriptions. This line explains this coherently, “How long will nature continue to intoxicate her” as well as in this line, “It is possible to see in her presenting herself as a drunk a sublimated rebelliousness against society’s restrictiveness or sanctimoniousness.” (Academic Brooklyn 2009). The commentary as a whole really dives into the aspect of Dickinson’s deeper message with alcohol and nature and how they complement one another poetically. 

I taste a liquor never brewed” is meant to make the reader think about two topics and distinguish separately as well as compare the two together throughout the poem. Dickinson makes intoxication and nature an opportunity for in-depth imagery and puts that into this poem. Giving the possibility for different outcomes of examples of nature as well as a drunkenness that Dickinson has defined for herself in this poem. 

Further Readings and Bibliography: Cristanne Miller. Emily Dickinson’s “I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed, Emily Dickinson.”; Kirkus Reviews, vol. 86, no. 21, p. 1. EBSCOhost (Nov. 2016) Barbara Packer. “Approaches to Reading Dickinson.”  Women’s Studies, vol. 16, no. 1/2, p. 223. (Jan. 1989) Maria Popova. “Dickinson and the Contract of Taste.Women’s Studies, vol. 16, no. 1/2, p. 91. (Jan. 1989) Maria Popova. “Emily Dickinson’s Herbarium: A Forgotten Treasure at the Intersection of Science and Poetry.” Brain Pickings, 21 (Jan. 2019)

Song of Myself, Section 17 By: Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands, they 

are not original with me,

If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing, or next 

to nothing,

If they are not the riddle and the untying of the riddle they are 


If they are not just as close as they are distant they are nothing.

This is the grass that grows wherever the land is and the water is,

This the common air that bathes the globe.

“Song of Myself” was originally published in 1855, in the collection of “Leaves of Grass”. Although the poem as a whole was put into sections much later after publication. This poem is broken up between 52 sections as well as 1,300 lines included. This poem has been known to be the “core of Whitman’s poetic vision.” One poem out of over 400 included in “Leaves of Grass”. Where each poem vary in lengths and different topics. “Song of Myself” is the longest poem included.

Section 17 includes repetition throughout Whitman’s piece. Repetition is seen throughout the poem in the phrases “they”, “this”, and “they are” frequently. This is shown in, “If they are not the riddle and the untying of the riddle they are Nothing,” (3-4). As well as, “This is the grass that grows wherever the land is and the water is, This the common air that bathes the globe” (8-9). Only some of the examples in many throughout this poem of where these words are included. Although there is not much or any imagery in this section, there is throughout the rest of the poem. Which explains the simplistic aspect of this section. This section focuses on Whitman’s thoughts and beliefs and reflects in the beginning and the rest of his poem. 

According to “The University of Iowa” section 17 is the answer to a prior section’s question. “The University of Iowa” is referring to a line in a previous section that states “What is grass?” In this article “The University of Iowa” states that Whitman is portraying that all grass grows equally. He uses this to compare grass to humans and society. A commentary by Margaret Duggar also writes about section 17 and its relationship to the poem as a whole. She talks about symbolism in self’s relationship. She then states, “the meaning of the grass in section 6 to perceptions of the universality of the individual experience in section 17: “This is the grass that grows wherever the land is and the water is, / This is the common air that bathes the globe.” (Duggar). This provided excerpt from this commentary goes into depth about how each section plays a certain role in the poem as a whole, as this one focuses on section 17 and how it is important to different sections.

Section 17 is not a well-known section of the famous “Song to Myself”, but just as important. This section is a simplistic perspective to Whitman’s more complicated sections full of imagery and descriptive metaphors. Showing the various writing styles Whitman has all in one poem. 

Bibliography and Further Readings: William Birmingham. “About Walt Whitman.”, Academy of American Poets, (n.d.) Peter Schjeldahl. “Whitman’s Song of the Possible American Self.” Cross Currents, vol. 43, no. 3, p. 341. (Fall 1993) Shmoop Editorial Team. “Walt Whitman: America’s Poet.New Yorker, vol. 95, no. 27, pp. 7–8. (Jul. 2019) Section 17, Song of Myself.” Section 17 | IWP WhitmanWeb. (2012) The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “Song of Myself Introduction.Shmoop, Shmoop University, 11 Song of Myself.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. (4 Aug. 2017) Margaret H. Duggar. “Individualism” (Criticism) – The Walt Whitman Archive, New York: Garland Publishing. (1998)

Aftermath By: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

When the summer fields are mown, 

When the birds are fledged and flown, 

      And the dry leaves strew the path; 

With the falling of the snow, 

With the cawing of the crow, 

Once again the fields we mow 

      And gather in the aftermath. 

Not the sweet, new grass with flowers 

Is this harvesting of ours; 

      Not the upland clover bloom; 

But the rowen mixed with weeds, 

Tangled tufts from marsh and meads, 

Where the poppy drops its seeds 

      In the silence and the gloom.

“Aftermath” was found first in the Atlantic Monthly and published in 1873. This poem metaphorically describes a new beginning. Using seasons from winter to summer to portray blooming and dying to become new. Showing a cycle, bringing the poem full circle. As well as showing leaving certain aspects of life behind through these changes in seasons. “Aftermath” is very centered around nature, while other pieces of his work does not. As well as the complete metaphor throughout the whole poem included. Some other common poems by Longfellow included “Paul Revere’s Ride,” Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie (1847) and “A Psalm of Life” were educational poems used in school curriculums.

There are fourteen lines to this poem. As well, as a period as punctuation in the middle of the poem. Which divides this poem into two parts. The first part is a happier tone showing how hay is being cut and the transition to fall and then into winter. While the second half shows the negative aspects and the rowen, or second cut of hay is not as great as the first. This is creating an analogy between the mowing of fields in the summer and getting all of the nutrient greens and were ascending, an example of this is “is this harvesting of ours” (9). is showing once we get to a certain point what we are harvesting is memory of past which is the past season. The cycle of nature is an analogy to the human life. Longfellow also uses imagery in this poem sparingly. For example “When the birds are fledged and flown” (2). This paints a clear picture for the reader of a bird ready to fly and flying away from the sorrow to come.  Summer is used to show the beautiful parts of life. Using imagery of greenery and nature gives the reader a sense of happiness and hope. Longfellow focuses on this to bring this part of the poem attentive to the reader. Showing contrast at the beginning of the transition to a more melancholy setting. Winter was used for the sad and reminiscent parts of the poem. Showing a contrast to both sides of the poem. He does this by talking about how summer aspects are being affected by the Winter. Showing the changes in the poem as a whole. 

“The Atlantic Monthly” states how important and impactful “Aftermath” was to Longfellow’s work as a whole. A quote from the article shows the importance of the choices Longfellow makes and how they made his piece better. This quote says, “in the love we bear a man’s poetry there is something analogous to the repetition-asking principle in music; some recurrence of accustomed mental attitudes we all desire” (Howells). This quote really portrayed how clever Longfellow’s word choice and literary choices are to his work, and how this affected his work to the reader. Another quote shows the impact this had on readers. The quote says, “Moreover, in Aftermath, the poet appears willing to recall to the lovers of his poetry all their favorites among his works.” (Howells). Proving Longfellow’s bold and interpretative choices were successful.

Although this poem was short it was in-depth in its meaning. The length of the poem made the message more prominent. The length of the poem was able to show the sharp changes from season to season as well as the emotion provided along with it. Which shows overall how seasons can be shown through emotion. As well as showing how fast something can change, and how the second time around will never be able to be compared to the original first time of something.

Further Readings and Bibliography: Eric Conrad. “The Poet as Printer’s Fist: Walt Whitman’s Indicative Hand.” Nineteenth-Century Literature, vol. 74, no. 1, pp. 54–86. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1525/ncl.2019.74.1.54. (Jun. 2019) John Derbyshire. “Longfellow & the Fate of Modern Poetry.New Criterion, vol. 19, no. 4, p. 12. EBSCOhost. (Dec. 2000) Peter Schjeldahl. “Walt Whitman: America’s Poet.New Yorker, vol. 95, no. 27, pp. 7–8. EBSCOhost. (Jul. 2019) William Howells. “Recent Literature: Aftermath.The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company. (2000)

Good-Bye By: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Good-bye, proud world! I’m going home: 

Thou art not my friend, and I’m not thine. 

Long through thy weary crowds I roam; 

A river-ark on the ocean brine, 

Long I’ve been tossed like the driven foam; 

But now, proud world! I’m going home. 

Good-bye to Flattery’s fawning face; 

To Grandeur with his wise grimace; 

To upstart Wealth’s averted eye; 

To supple Office, low and high; 

To crowded halls, to court and street; 

To frozen hearts and hasting feet; 

To those who go, and those who come; 

Good-bye, proud world! I’m going home. 

I am going to my own hearth-stone, 

Bosomed in yon green hills alone, — 

A secret nook in a pleasant land, 

Whose groves the frolic fairies planned; 

Where arches green, the livelong day, 

Echo the blackbird’s roundelay, 

And vulgar feet have never trod 

A spot that is sacred to thought and God. 

O, when I am safe in my sylvan home, 

I tread on the pride of Greece and Rome; 

And when I am stretched beneath the pines, 

Where the evening star so holy shines, 

I laugh at the lore and the pride of man, 

At the sophist schools and the learned clan; 

For what are they all, in their high conceit, 

When man in the bush with God may meet? 

“Good-Bye” was written in 1823.  “Good-Bye” was not included in “Selected Poems” which was originally published in 1876. Emerson earned the title of a transcendentalist which lead to later essays in the future. A “transcendentalist” is labeled as someone who accepts potential ideas as understanding life relationships, not religious beliefs. Emerson sent this poem for the possibility of printing it in “The Western Messenger”. Emerson wrote this poem while in Boston while he was in school, and expresses that some of his opinions and thoughts from this poem have changed since then now that he is grown.

This poem explains in the first stanza about how he is saying goodbye to the world. The reminiscent aspect takes in how he doesn’t like the world. He even explains how the world is not his friend and he is not a friend of the world. This is stated in the line “Thou art not my friend, and I’m not thine:” (2). In the second stanza, the reader starts to see the relationship of the poet to the world in actual scenarios being described as why he is not a fan of the world. An example of this is “To upstart Wealth’s averted eye” (9) and “To frozen hearts and hasting feet” (12). Then ending the whole stanza with a final goodbye. This wraps up this middle section from all of the prior issues the poet explained throughout. The third stanza then states how the poet is starting anew. This stanza takes both stanzas prior and starts to show the reader what is going to happen or what he aspires to have for the future. Examples from this stanza are the very beginning of the poem which states, “I am going to my own hearth-stone,” (15) and another example that starts describing this future aspiration “where arches green, the livelong day,” (19). The poet is showing the reader how beautiful this new place will be. The last stanza talks about how the poet will feel and embody within themselves when all of these new beginnings occur. An example of this is the very beginning of the poem “O when I am safe in my sylvan home,”(23). While the ending of this poem then states how a question for the reader which states, “When man in the bush with God may meet?” (30). This line gives the reader something to think about and gives more power to the poem overall as well as the idea of possibility for what happens next. Sparking an intriguing and luring curiosity.

“Owlcation,” wrote a commentary of their own discussing each stanza and what they mean. This was written by Linda Sue Grimes and published to “Owlcation” in 2019. This article states the interpretation of stanza one is “retirement from the weary world” (Grimes). For the second stanza, the article says Emerson is, “a list of complaints”(Grimes). The third stanza according to the article represents “selecting his own society”(Grimes). While Grimes describes the fourth stanza as “a place for the divine creator”. This commentary explains how the ending is explaining Emerson’s line “frozen hearts and hasting feet,” then continues into “Good-bye proud world! I’m going home.” Grimes talks about how Emerson is using these lines to show he is not content with the people around him who he describes to have “frozen hearts”. Grimes then uses this to explain in the fourth stanza, “ He avers that meeting God in natural setting profits the soul in ways that immersion in the activities of the world cannot.” (Grimes). The commentary as a whole shows the story Emerson is trying to tell, and Grimes shows the story buildup from Emerson’s negative emotions about aspects of the world to positive aspects of the world.

Emerson uses different literary devices such as repetition to make this poem come to life. This poem is a very emotional and relatable poem, based on such a simple word as “Good-bye”. Emerson stretches this word out as far as he possibly can, and uses so many supporting details to show his true personal interpretation of “Good-bye” and feed that to the reader.

Bibliography and Further Readings:

HEITMAN, DANNY. “Ralph Waldo Emerson.” Humanities, vol. 34, no. 3, May 2013, pp. 32–36. EBSCOhost, “The Poetry Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson.” American Literature, vol. 58, no. 4, Dec. 1986, p. 673. EBSCOhost, von der Heydt, Jim. “Emerson’s Beachcombing and the Horizon of Poetry.” Raritan, vol. 22, no. 3, Winter 2003, p. 113. “I.Poems Good-Bye.” Good-Bye. I. Poems. Ralph Waldo Emerson. 1904. The Complete Works, 2015, “Ralph Waldo Emerson.”, A&E Networks Television, 22 July 2019,